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NEWS UPDATES 10 May 2009

Philippine brewer bids for state power plant

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The Philippines' San Miguel Corp said it is among 11 firms seeking to buy a state-owned coal-fired power plant after a French company walked away from a 787 million-dollar deal early this year, reported AFP.

Listed San Miguel, southeast Asia's largest food and beverage firm, told the Philippine Stock xchange it has "expressed interest to bid for the Calaca coal-fired power plant."

French power firm Suez Energy, through its vehicle Emerald Energy Corp., had won an October 2007 auction to take over the 600-megawatt plant, located south of Manila. However it pulled out in January, citing a "deterioration in the condition of the Calaca plant."

The government has since said it will dispose of the plant through a "negotiated sale," adding that 11 groups had signalled they would put in bids. The government's Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. did not say how much it expected the plant to fetch.

Calaca is among the assets owned by the state utility firm that are being sold off as part of a government plan to privatise the power industry. A consortium involving a Chinese state firm has already won the franchise to run the country's power transmission grid.
San Miguel, the country's largest private employer, has been moving aggressively toward heavy industries and other businesses as it seeks to diversify. It has acquired a minority stake in top power distributor Manila Electric Co. and an option to buy a majority stake in local oil refiner Petron Corp.

It has also announced plans to venture into telecommunications, mining, water utilities, and toll roads.



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